RESIDENTS on a Pennington housing estate say they will form vigilante squads to combat vandals who have smashed up vehicles there for the second time in just over a month.
At least four vehicles were targeted in Bays Road on Friday in the early hours, but victims claim that police are “not interested” in investigating the crimes. They plan to take action themselves to prevent it happening again in the future.
Tony Stone, a former paratrooper, said: “We feel we have absolutely no alternative. If the police won’t do anything to protect our property, we will have to do it ourselves.
“A vigilante squad seems to be the way forward. We will have to patrol this estate ourselves to prevent these idiots coming back to do this again.”
The vandals match the description of previous yobs who targeted 26 cars over two nights in Pennington and Lymington in the first week of December. They smashed up three cars in nearby Meadowlands before making their way to Bays Road at around 12.15am.
Mr Stone said the youths who carried out the latest attacks seem “totally blasé” about being caught.
He said: “In Meadowlands they were caught on CCTV, one of them holds his middle finger up to the camera before ripping it off the wall. They seem to be revelling in what they are doing, knowing they will probably get away with what they are doing.”
Barry Chislett-Bruce, who had his van attacked while his wife’s car had a window smashed and items taken from it, said: “We found the hammer that they used lying by my wife’s car.
“But when I told Hampshire police, they said they ‘might consider’ coming to get it and if they do it won’t be for another two days.
“To be honest they could not have sounded less interested if they tried. It’s disgusting. If these thugs get away with this for a second time it won’t be long before they are back again.
“There have been talks about forming a vigilante squad and it looks like that is what we will have to do.”
On 7th December last year at least eight cars in Bays Road were smashed up by a gang of teens who then went on to damage cars in roads all over Pennington and Lymington that night and the following one.
Residents said they feared then that if the culprits were not caught, they would attack vehicles again.
‘It’s a horrible feeling’
Mr Chislett-Bruce, a chimney sweep, said: “That certainly seems to have come true. I am sure it is probably the last lot who smashed up cars here who have done it again.
“Last time they were young teenagers wearing hoodies and scarfs over their faces.
“Someone in Meadowlands caught the thugs who did this to our cars on CCTV at around 12.03. They matched the description of that last gang.”
After damaging at least three cars in Meadowlands the gang made their way to Bays Road where they damaged two cars and stole items from others.
Mr Chislett-Bruce said: “They attacked my van with the hammer making huge dents in the passenger door.
“That is going to cost me hundreds if not thousands to have repaired and I have lost a day’s work because I have to have deal with all this. The hassle and inconvenience of it all is sickening.”
His wife Karen Davies, who was also unable to go to work at a vets, said: “They smashed my passenger window, then got everything out of the glove compartment. They even took a Will Young CD.
“A neighbour’s car was unlocked so they went all through that too. My daughter’s car was also targeted, she lives around the corner.
“Hers was unlocked and they’ve been all through it. We’ve found items stolen from the cars dumped in the road, its all so mindless. There was nothing of value in my car but I’ve got to pay £75 for the insurance excess to have the window repaired, not to mention not being able to go to work.
“It’s a horrible feeling to know someone has done this and that they could easily come back and do it again.”
The couple were alerted to what had happened by neighbour Mr Stone. He had heard the gang but did not realise they had caused any damage until the morning.
He said: “My wife woke me up saying she had heard noises in the street. We heard voices but could not see anyone.
“I have a very bright torch which I shone in the direction of the noise. I kept looking out the window until 1am and I think I must have frightened the gang off.
“It wasn’t until I came out around 7.30am this morning that I realised Barry and Karen’s vehicles had been done over.”
Mr Stone is also going to complain to the council about the fact that street lighting on the estate is off from 1am-4am, saying: “That obviously doesn’t help the situation. They should be on all night.”
Items stolen from cars in Bays Road and Meadowlands, including a rucksack that had contained new clothes and £20 in cash, were later found on Pennington Common.
A blaze in a bin that firefighters responded to on the common around 1am is suspected to be linked to the car attacks with witnesses reporting a group of youths burning items.
Hampshire police say that they have reports of two cars being vandalised, one in Bays Road and one in Meadowlands.
Anyone with information should contact officers on 101, quoting crime reference number 44200011, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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